Kyle Shanahan understands Brandon Aiyuk's three receptions in Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Levi's Stadium were crucial to the 49ers' 34-31 triumph over the Detroit Lions. Some, including Aiyuk, believe his best catch should have been a touchdown. All three of his catches resulted in first downs.
Conference call: "I didn't think he was ever going to recover," Shanahan added. "He looked to be shouting at me to dispute it since he knew he scored, but I was informed he didn't.
Therefore, I didn't. They probably touched him, but he scored three plays later." Brock Purdy's 51-yard throw off Detroit Lions CB Kindle Vildor's helmet was Aiyuk's remarkable reception. The ball flew high, but Aiyuk somehow kept possession as he landed on the grass.
The acrobatic accomplishment was impressive, but Shanahan praised his receiver for rebounding from lost opportunities earlier in the game.
"When we were down in this game, and it seemed like they were running away with it early, Brock made an off-schedule throw, and [Aiyuk] almost came down with another low catch and missed it, and that was a big one," said Shanahan.
For him to come back and completely redeem himself and even more, with one of the best catches I've ever seen, in the biggest moments, we will all be hugely grateful for our whole lives."
Aiyuk had a great season and deserved a second-team All-Pro selection despite being overlooked for the Pro Bowl. Shanahan feels Aiyuk's performance may have prevented the club from going to Super Bowl LVIII.
[Aiyuk] made two huge plays on third down last week with two low throws," he remarked. "[We] probably wouldn't have been able to win without those two plays." After two days off, the 49ers will practice on Thursday in preparation for their week-long trip to Sin City for the NFL's biggest game.
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